9 Benefits of a Dry January

You weren’t the only one waking up on January 1st with a Champagne hangover and groaning, “I’m never drinking again.” But some, while not swearing off alcohol forever, are committing to a dry January. The custom of giving up booze for the month of January has been gaining traction in recent years—Anne Hathaway even made it her New Year’s resolution last year—and after a holiday season full of spiked eggnog, spiked apple cider and spiked everything else, we’re intrigued. Thinking of giving your liver a vacation this year? We’ve got 9 health benefits of a dry January to give you an extra push:

You’ll be more likely to stick to your New Year’s resolution.

Vowing to eat healthier this year? You might have better success if you cut back on alcohol. We’ve all had grand plans to have a veggie stir-fry for dinner thwarted by one too many margaritas at happy hour. Suddenly, it’s 9PM and handfuls of fries are somehow heading straight toward your mouth. How’d that happen?? Blame the two-for-one drink special—boozing it up weakens impulse control…which makes it easier to grab a fry and forget your diet.

You’ll drive better.

Of course you know better than to get behind the wheel after drinking—but did you know that a hangover could impair your ability to drive safely too? The research, carried out by the University of West England, found that although drivers reported putting a lot more effort into driving when they were hungover, they had slower reaction times, less control of their cats, and more variation in their speed. “Overall, we found that their level of driving was as bad as if they had been over the limit,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Chris Alford.

You’ll sleep better.

You may fall asleep faster after a drink or two, but alcohol consumption actually decreases REM sleep and increases how often you wake up in the middle of the night. The result? Less restful, deep sleep and less of it overall. “People tend to feel that alcohol helps them fall asleep a little quicker, and therefore people associated that with helping them sleep,” University of Melbourne researcher Christian Nicholas told Time. “But when you actually go and look at what is happening while they sleep, the quality of that sleep isn’t good.”

You’ll save calories.

Drop your two glasses of merlot with dinner in January and you could save over 8,800 calories by the end of the month—that’s about two and a half pounds. Even more if you order sugary mixed drinks at the bar on the weekends.

You’ll eat less.

Also contributing to your looser jeans by the end of the month? You’re more likely to eat less when you’re not drinking. Studies have found that we generally consume 20 percent more calories from food during a meal if we had a drink before we started chowing down—and that’s before you add in the calories from alcohol.

Your skin will look better.

All alcohol dehydrates, causing our skin to look drier and less plump. And if you’re drinking booze with sugar (mixed drinks) or salt (beer and margaritas), you’ll see issues like acne, swollen eyes and bloating crop up too. Stay clear of the bar this month and you may be rewarded with a clearer complexion.

You’ll make bigger improvements at the gym.

Alcohol can interfere with the production of adenosine triphosphate synthesis, a direct energy source for muscles, as well as inhibiting the repair of damaged muscles and the growth of new muscle. And if you’re going to drag yourself to a weight training circuit class at 6am on Monday morning, you want it to count.

The habit just may stick.

In a study on effects of abstaining from alcohol, researchers had 857 Dry January participants complete surveys about their drinking habits one and six months after the end of the booze-free period. Though about 10 percent of them reported drinking more after Dry January, many actually drank less six months later than they did before the challenge and found it easier to turn down a drink.

You’ll have lower blood glucose levels and less liver fat.

One month of going booze-free can make a big, real difference in your health. Just ask the staff at New Scientist—when 10 of them abstained from drinking for five weeks, they reported dramatic changes including a 15 percent drop in liver fat, a 16 percent drop in blood glucose levels and a five percent drop in total blood cholesterol.

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82 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Veronica Danie
.2 years ago

Sounds good.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Ricky T.
Ricky T2 years ago

4 years dry...and counting.

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Callie R.
Callie R2 years ago

Thanks.

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Laura R.
Laura R2 years ago

Thank you.

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Brandy S.
Brandy S2 years ago

Thanks.

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sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner2 years ago

YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM, IF YOU DO, TRY STAYING SOBER FOR JANUARY. IF AT THE END OF THE MONTH YOU WANT TO DRINK, DO YOU WANT TO TRY A DRY FEBRUARY, DO IT. YOU ARE ALL WONDERFUL CREATIVE PEOPLE THAT CAN DO ANYTHING YOU THINK YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Maybe

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Jennifer F.
Jennifer F2 years ago

To each their own...we all have to deal with our own actions because of what we do. I only drink a few times a year but that is my own choice and I don't preach about it to others.

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